New Jersey crime bill targets loud mufflers

Photo credit: jay pizzle

by Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D., Board of Directors, GrowNYC, Co-founder, The Quiet Coalition, and Honorary Chair, Quiet American Skies

This Shore News Network article explains that loud muffler and exhaust system modifications could be more harshly penalized in New Jersey under a new crime bill. Yes, higher noise levels that result from modifications to a vehicle’s muffler or exhaust system (already considered a criminal act) could be penalized with higher fees. This elicits the idea that imposing noise on people in other ways may also be viewed as a criminal act. However, while those who have been “pained” by these noises may feel this way, there will be no penalties unless regulations define these noise levels as unlawful. This reminds me that people affected by aviation noise could be protected by more appropriate legislation at both the national and local levels. 

The New Jersey bill is seeking tougher regulations for loud mufflers and exhaust systems. The bill would raise the fines considerably from the current cost of $25. This bill does, however, remove the requirement that motors and exhaust systems have to be inspected for noise levels at vehicle inspections. We also learn that legislators considered jail time for those who violate the law, but it was ultimately removed.

We have to assume from this article that a financial penalty is imposed when the vehicle is caught in violation of the law. This article also notes that the aim of the bill is to reduce noise pollution. However, this result is only possible if the law is enforced. Aims are one thing, but actions are another. When it comes to laws covering noise pollution, we know too often that these laws lack enforcement. I hope that New Jersey citizens press their legislators about the enforcement of this bill.

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